Trump Takes Agenda of Change to United Nations

U.S. President Donald Trump’s debut at the United Nations General Assembly where world leaders gather annually was set to begin with a U.S.-hosted event on overhauls at the world body, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Trump, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres, and U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley are also scheduled to deliver speeches on the U.N. overhauls focused on better efficiency, transparency, and management, diplomats said.

While Guterres and Trump are at odds about issues including the Iran nuclear accord and the Paris climate deal, they appear to share a common view on the need to make the U.N. more effective and influential, diplomats said. Trump, who has repeatedly expressed his skepticism about international organizations such as the U.N. and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, last year said the U.N. is “not a friend of democracy” and “not a friend of freedom.”

The U.S. is the top financial contributor to the U.N., donating 28.5% of the $7.3 billion peacekeeping budget and 22% of its core budget of $5.4 billion. The U.S. is conducting a mission-by-mission review of the U.N.’s 16 peacekeeping operations and lobbied to slash $600 million this year from the peacekeeping budget.

Guterres said he has two priorities for overhauls: establishment of an advisory board on mediation to work toward conflict prevention and improving gender parity at the U.N.

The U.S. and other critics say the organization’s archaic bureaucracy and management style hinder its operations, from humanitarian assistance to day-to-day field and office functions. The U.S. has also complained about U.N.’s costs, arguing some of its work within various organizations overlaps.

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